I try to stay away from appetizers. Don’t get me wrong. I have no trouble devouring a large fried onion or a heaping bowl of chips with salsa. But if I overdo things, I can easily fill up before the main course is delivered.
Still, it’s a challenge. It’s hard to wait for something more nutritious when a waiter is pushing the quick fix. After an order of wings or some bread sticks I can pretty much guarantee I will be taking half of my meal home in a Styrofoam box.
This is not an indictment on appetizers. In fact, as they relate to the spiritual realm, a lot of people find their way to the deeper things of God after they have their appetites whetted by something less substantial. Maybe you found salvation as a result of some relationships you formed on a church softball team or a youth event that involved water balloons and hot dogs. You may have continued to attend a church because you enjoyed the worship band’s “vibe” or the preacher’s sense of humor (I am obviously speaking hypothetically…right?). These things may be lean on the substance of the gospel, but if they are presented in the proper context they reflect Christ’s love and draw people closer to the cross.
Sooner or later, though, we want to be filled and we must ask where we can find lasting fulfillment. To get there, it is important to think in terms of a living process instead of a single serving. We must also remember the process begins with the Life-Giver. Jesus described this very dynamic when He said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).